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Murder Inquiry As Body Found In Car Boot

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 12 April 2015 | 23.39

A murder investigation is under way in Northern Ireland after a man's body was found in the boot of a car.

The discovery was made in the Windsor Road area of South Belfast.

A man and woman, both in their 20s, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Police are also examining Church Gate apartments in the Mill Street area of Comber as part of the investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector John McVea said: "I appeal to anyone who was in or around the Church Gate Studios late last night or earlier this morning and heard a disturbance or noted any suspicious activity to contact detectives at Newtownards 101."

Anyone with information can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Conservatives Promise To Cut Inheritance Tax

The Conservatives have said they will take family homes out of inheritance tax by introducing a new allowance which effectively increases the threshold for tax to £1m.

David Cameron said that if his party wins the 7 May election, parents will be offered a new £175,000 allowance to enable them to pass property on to children tax-free after they die.

For properties worth more than £2m, the allowance will be gradually tapered away so that those worth more than £2.35m do not benefit.

Full coverage: General Election 2015

Inheritance tax is currently payable at a rate of 40% on the value of an estate above the £325,000 threshold - or £650,000 if a couple takes advantage of the existing allowance.

It is thought around 22,000 families will benefit from the move by 2020 and Mr Cameron said the costs would be paid for by a £1bn raid on pension tax relief for people earning more than £150,000.

Mr Cameron said: "We will take the family home out of inheritance tax.

"That home that you have worked and saved for belongs to you and your family.

"You should be able to pass it on to your children. And with the Conservatives, the taxman will not get his hands on it."

The Conservatives promised a £1m inheritance tax threshold in the 2010 election, but were blocked by Liberal Democrats from implementing it when in coalition.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told Sky's Murnaghan programme it is the "wrong priority" and "won't affect 90% of estates".

She said: "They are talking about a £140,000 tax cut for properties that are worth around £2m at a time when you've got families still losing their homes because of the bedroom tax, at a time when pensioners and families have had to pay more VAT."

The Institute For Fiscal Studies said the change would "disproportionately" benefit those on higher incomes.

In an observation published on its website after the announcement, the IFS said: "Since the children of those with very large estates are disproportionately towards the top of the income distribution the gains from this (and in fact any) IHT cut will also go disproportionately to those towards the top of the income distribution."

Meanwhile, Labour has revealed its plans to crackdown on tax-dodgers if it wins the election, hoping to cut avoidance and evasion by at least £7.5bn a year by the middle of the next Parliament.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said it would take a Labour government to "call time" on the Tories' "lax approach", adding that Labour would set targets for HMRC to reduce tax avoidance by at least £7.5bn a year.

He said: "We will close the loopholes the Tories won't act on, increase transparency, toughen up penalties and abolish the non-dom rules.

"And our first Budget will make sure that, following an immediate review of HMRC, it has all the powers and resources it needs to come down hard on tax avoidance and evasion."

Conservative Treasury minister David Gauke said: "Ed Miliband and Ed Balls turned a blind eye to aggressive tax avoiding and evading for 13 years when they were in charge - they were the tax avoiders' friends."

The Lib Dems have also set out their tax plans, promising "light at the end of the tunnel" with moves to eliminate Britain's deficit by 2017/18.

Nick Clegg said his plan has "a heart as well as a brain", trying to drive home his claim that his party will cut less than the Conservatives and borrow less than Labour.

Spelling out plans for a consolidation totaling £27bn by 2017/18, made up of £12bn in additional tax, £12bn in public spending reductions and £3bn in welfare cuts, Mr Clegg challenged the other parties to spell out in similar detail how they would balance the nation's books.

He said: "We are going to spread the burden of finishing the job of fixing the economy fairly across society.

"Yes that means more cuts, but it also means asking the wealthiest to pay their fare share too."

:: Click here to make your own government with our Shaker Maker

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Alex Salmond's Tough Race For Westminster

Being Alex Salmond. More than anything else, it's what has made him the bookies' favourite to take the Gordon constituency.

Salmond's opponents, too, acknowledge that the recognition factor puts momentum behind Scotland's former First Minister.

Sure, there has been an SNP surge Scotland-wide but this Aberdeenshire constituency has been impenetrable Liberal Democrat territory since it was created in 1983. 

The Salmond factor will be key in carrying him over the line if the SNP is, indeed, to win here.

It is a prosperous part of Scotland, stretching north from Aberdeen.

:: For full coverage of the General Election click here

Up the coast, I stood on the 18th tee of Trump International Golf Course, where the 360 degree view takes in the wealth generators: farmland, business in the city of Aberdeen and, at sea, the supply vessels of the North Sea Gas industry that's brought big money in with the tide.

Alex Salmond's biggest threat here is the tactical vote.

The people of Gordon voted two-to-one against Scottish independence in last September's referendum. 

They listen, like everyone else, to the mood music of an SNP campaign that increasingly sounds like the party will push for 'Indyref 2' as soon as it thinks it'll win it. 

In this corner of Aberdeenshire, the notion doesn't necessarily sit well with the majority, and has given birth to the Stop Salmond vote.

Liberal Democrat candidate Christine Jardine told Sky News she is benefiting from pro-Union opinion that's steering voters towards her, whatever their party of first-choice.

She says: "People are telling me on the doorsteps that they haven't voted Liberal Democrat before but they will this time because they feel it's a straight two-horse race between me and Alex Salmond."

There is another main contender in the fight for the Stop Salmond vote, however: Conservative candidate Colin Clark, who told Sky News: "Gordon is a constituency which is a conservative with a small c and Alex Salmond is a socialist with a large s.

"This is really alien territory for him - it's not a constituency of grievance, it's a constituency of hard work."

Labour candidate Braden Davy said: "He is the establishment for people my age in Scotland. I'm not keen on his record: he seems to put his main campaign as division, the dividing of the UK."

There's no doubt that Mr Salmond would be a prominent member of an SNP group at Westminster post-election, perhaps sitting on Nicola Sturgeon's shoulder as she lays down her demands of an Ed Miliband minority administration. 

He told Sky News: "The agenda of the team in Westminster is to move away from austerity, is to get a better deal for Scotland, is to identify progressive politics that can be pursued across these islands."

There is much to the election battle in Gordon and a lot of it extends beyond the constituency boundary.

If Mr Salmond wins the seat, it will give him the platform to work towards his party's ambitions - Scottish independence chief among them.

The question at this election isn't just: what can he do for Gordon... but what can Gordon do for him.

:: Play the Sky News interactive feature Shaker Maker and have a go at forming your own government

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Lightning Strike Plane Just Seconds From Crash

A passenger plane pulled out of a terrifying nosedive with just seven seconds to spare after being hit by lightning in Scotland, says an air accident report.

The Loganair flight, carrying 30 passengers and three crew members, was moments away from crashing into the North Sea before the pilot wrested back control.

The island-hopping Saab 2000 was flying from Aberdeen to Sumburgh Airport, Shetland, when it hit a snow storm with 70mph winds, an interim report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

The 42-year-old pilot decided to abort his approach when he was seven miles away, and the plane was then struck by lightning which travelled from the nose to the tail of the aircraft.

He and the co-pilot wrongly believed the autopilot system had disengaged and struggled to regain control of the plane as it plunged at high speed.

As the co-pilot declared a mayday, the pilot kept trying to gain height - but every move was countered by the autopilot.

When it fell to 4,000ft, the plane suddenly pitched nose down and started falling at 158ft per second.

At 1,100ft - giving the crew just seven seconds to act before the plane crashed into the waves - 'pull-up' alarms sounded, the captain applied full power and the aircraft finally started to climb.

The plane landed safely in Aberdeen, with only minor damage.

No passengers were injured, but many were left shaken by the incident, which took place on the night of 14 December.

Passenger Shona Manson told the Daily Telegraph: "It was really, really bumpy. If it was someone who's a bad flyer, it'd be their worst nightmare.

"We were on descent and I said to my partner, we're going back up again, and just as we started to go up again there was an almighty bang and a flash that went over the left wing.

"Then we were really ascending, and at that point there were a few folk looking around going 'Oh my God, what's happening?' The poor guy across the aisle from me just had eyes like rabbits in headlights."

The report said the crew may have thought the lighting strike had disabled the autopilot because other controls had stopped working.

But it was still functioning and trying to descend to its instructed level for the landing.

The AAIB report said: "Although the pilots' actions suggested that they were under the impression the autopilot had disengaged at the moment of the lightning strike, recorded data showed that it had remained engaged."

It said it had not identified any technical malfunction which might account for the incident, and the investigation is continuing, looking at crew training, autopilot design, and any "human factors".

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CCTV Pictures Show Gang Raiding Jewel Vault

Police have released CCTV pictures of a van and three suspects wanted in connection with the Hatton Garden jewel heist.

Scotland Yard described the men as "highly audacious" and said they entered the building in London's jewellery quarter twice over Easter.

The images were released after footage reportedly showing the gang raiding the safety deposit boxes was published by the Daily Mirror.

The 17-minute video purportedly shows at least six men arriving at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company's building on Good Friday.

The Daily Mirror, which obtained the footage, reported that the group made two separate visits before leaving in a white van on Easter Sunday with the contents of 72 safety deposit boxes in wheelie bins and bags.

Scotland Yard is examining the footage, and has insisted it was already aware of the video before it was published by the newspaper.

The spokesman added the force had "not made any links" between the heist and an underground fire in the Holborn area which caused widespread power outages and road closures.

Detective chief inspector Paul Johnson said the images released on Saturday showed the suspects accessed the premises using a side door.

He said: "They were highly audacious entering on two occasions over that weekend, firstly on Thursday, 2 April at 20.19 before leaving the following morning at approximately 08.12.

"They then returned over a day later on Saturday, 4 April at approximately 22.17 before leaving the following morning at approximately 06.44.

"This footage, along with other material, was already recovered by police at the earliest opportunity, and continues to be evaluated to capture the precise movements of the suspects."

DCI Johnson said officers were continuing to collect CCTV from the area where the raid took place, and appealed for nearby businesses and anyone else in possession of footage to make contact.

Police are also continuing to investigate why a call from a security firm about the alarm was graded in a way that meant officers did not consider it worthy of a response.

It was not until Tuesday morning that the raid - one of Britain's biggest - was discovered.

The Daily Mirror footage is from a camera that centres on a doorway, with an adjacent intercom, at the bottom of a set of stairs that leads to the street.

A number of men appear wearing high-visibility jackets, hard hats, gloves and dust masks, and carrying orange tool boxes and holdalls.

Others in the group are dressed in blue overalls and gloves.

Three men with their faces covered are seen taking wheelie bins in and out of the building.

A white van is seen pulling up shortly before 7am on Sunday, the newspaper reported, and once the bins and bags are loaded into it, the group get in and drive away.

Police have insisted it is too early to say if the handling of the call about the alert would have had an impact on the outcome.

But the revelations have led to anger from potential victims, who spoke of their shock that the police "just weren't there".

The police could face compensation claims running into millions because officers failed to respond to the alarm, it has also been claimed.

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More Buyers Building Homes - The Old Way

By Enda Brady, Sky News Correspondent

With property prices rising and many young people still finding it hard to get a mortgage, more and more would-be homeowners across Britain are turning to one of the oldest methods of building.

Cob building involves using earth, sand, straw and clay as the raw materials for walls. It's estimated that a three-bed cob home would cost in the region of £25,000 to build.

All that's needed is a plot of land and planning permission - and the right knowledge.

Charlotte Eve runs classes on how to build cob homes from her Norfolk base and says that hundreds of people are signing up to learn the skills needed for their own projects.

"You can't get more sustainable than a cob home," she told Sky News.

"You dig your foundations on site and you use the clay from that foundation trench to make your walls. It's very environmentally friendly and it's also cheap - cheap in terms of construction costs and also in terms of heating the finished home.

"Your costs for the project are extremely low."

Self building accounts for only 10% of the UK market. That's despite lower costs - £150,000 for the average project, which is £80,000 less than a ready-made home.

Tony Tkaczuk from Lancashire is working on an upgrade of his cob cottage and says he'd recommend a self-build to anyone.

"It's very fulfilling actually, you have done it yourself and that's a great feeling," Tony told Sky News.

"You can work together as a team, like my wife and I do. And at the end it's wonderful to think to yourselves 'yes, we did that'."

At the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in Watford, experts monitor construction trends across the UK each year. They point out that around 11,000 projects in Britain last year were self-builds.

"There's a lot of time, energy and emotion required," said BRE's chief executive, Dr Peter Bonfield. "There are a lot of benefits to self-builds, you can feel really proud of what you have achieved.

"There are also a lot of professional companies out there doing this kind of thing day in and day out. So it's a choice really, a big decision for people."

The Government hopes self-built properties could help combat a housing shortfall of 750,000 homes across the UK by 2025.

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Aintree Racegoer 'Knocked OAP To The Ground'

Police are investigating after a video emerged appearing to show a Grand National racegoer deliberately knocking over an elderly man.

The video is believed to have been made outside the racecourse in Aintree where around 150,000 people attended the event.

In the footage, a racegoer walks along the pavement before knocking into the victim, who then falls to the ground.

Onlookers are heard gasping and seen rushing to the pensioner's aid before an ambulance is called.

The video appears to have been made by a friend of the racegoer and he shouts "text bomb" and "is there any need?" just moments before the incident, as he sniggers from behind his phone.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said officers are treating the incident as an assault and appealed for help in finding the victim.

"Merseyside Police has been made aware of a video showing a man shoulder-barging another, older man, over in a road near to the Aintree racecourse," he said.

"The incident is being treated as assault and officers are speaking to several people believed to have further information that could help the investigation.

"Inquiries are also being carried out to establish exactly when and where the incident occurred and checks are being made with local hospitals to see if further information can be found out about the victim and what his condition is now.

"We are grateful to the people who reported this video to us and we will endeavour to update them once further enquiries by officers have been made. "We would continue to welcome any information from anyone who witnessed the incident itself on 101. "

Earlier, police said the annual race had seen no arrests over its three-day course, thanking the public for making the event such a "safe and enjoyable occasion".

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UK Holidaymakers Being Conned Out Of Millions

A warning has been issued to those booking holidays online, as it is revealed that British holidaymakers were conned out of £2.2m last year.

Criminal groups have targeted online booking firms to steal cash from unsuspecting customers and many only find out they have been conned when they arrive at their hotel and find no record of their booking.

A report from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau found that in one case a holidaymaker lost £62,000 in a fraud relating to a dodgy timeshare scheme.

But losses are not just financial, with a third of victims saying the fraud has a substantial impact on their health as well as their finances and 167 victims said the impact of the crime was so severe they needed medical treatment.

The scams see a spike in the summer months and in December, which mean that many ruined trips will be for those trying to visit loved ones for Christmas.

The report shows that, during a 12-month period, 1,569 cases of holiday booking fraud were reported to the police action fraud team, with most relating to plane tickets, hacking accounts, posting fake adverts online and setting up bogus websites.

Sports and religious trips were an attractive target because of limited availability and higher prices and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and World Cup in Brazil were also targeted, with many people paying for fake tickets or accommodation.

Those aged between 30 and 49 were most often targeted and most victims were defrauded by methods such as bank transfers or cash with no means of getting their money back. Only a small number paid by credit or debit card where some form of redress is available.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: "Holiday fraud is a particularly distressing form of fraud as the loss to the victim is not just financial but it can also have a high emotional impact.

"Many victims are unable to get away on a long-awaited holiday or visit to loved ones and the financial loss is accompanied by a personal loss. 

"We would also encourage anyone who has been the victim of a travel-related fraud to report it so that the police can build up a case, catch the perpetrators and prevent other unsuspecting people from falling victim."

Detective chief superintendent Dave Clark, the City of London Police head of economic crime, said: "Online shoppers must be vigilant and conduct all the necessary checks before booking a break to ensure the conmen are kept at bay."

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British Boy Killed In Alps Ski Fall 'Was Lost'

A British boy who died in a skiing accident while on a family holiday in the French Alps was skiing alone at his own request, according to reports.

The seven-year-old, who has been named in reports as Carwyn Scott-Howell from Talybont-on-Usk in Powys, fell around 160ft from a cliff to his death in the alpine resort of Flaine on Friday.

He had been skiing with his mother, brother and sister but is understood to have asked to ski the day's final descent on his own.

His family became worried after he failed to reach the bottom of the slopes, prompting a search which ended when his body was discovered around three-and-a-half hours later.

The circumstances around the incident are still being investigated by the authorities, with some reports suggesting the boy was instead somehow separated from his family.

There have been reports that the boy was not skiing on his own, and had instead gotten lost from the group he was with.

Michel Ollagnon, an officer with the Bonneville mountain rescue service, said the boy's body was spotted off his expected course by rescuers in a helicopter on Friday evening.

Police chief Patrick Poirot, the head of the mountain rescue division in the nearby town of Annecy, was quoted in the Daily Mirror saying: "Specialists are at the scene to try and determine exactly what happened and understand every element that led to this tragedy.

"Hypothetically we think that, after losing his parents, the little boy didn't know where to go and skied in the wrong direction.

"He's just seven-years-old.

"He left the marked ski slope and probably skied to the top of a cliff.

"He then stopped, removed his skis, walked a little way and then fell.

"He fell 50 metres."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said they were aware of the death and are providing consular assistance.

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'Syria-Bound' Briton On Way Home To UK

One of nine Britons held in Turkey on suspicion of trying to illegally enter Syria is on his way home after being deported.

Waheed Ahmed - the son of Rochdale councillor Shakil Ahmed - will fly from Dalaman into Manchester on Sunday night, according to Sky sources.

The remaining eight will return on Tuesday, it is understood.

All of the group are from the same family.

Mr Ahmed, 21, was with his aunt, two cousins and one of their wives when they were stopped in Turkey, near the Syrian border. They had four children with them.

Most of the group flew from Manchester on 27 March but Mr Ahmed joined them three days later on a flight from Birmingham.

There were reportedly concerns about his behaviour in the months before he was arrested.

Mohammed Shafiq, who is a friend of Shakil Ahmed, said of Waheed: "There were concerns in the last six months to a year about a change in his behaviour.

"And a change in his attitude towards various different issues."

He also told Sky News: "That was causing concern for people in the community and his family."

Other family members detained include Zareeda Bi, 47, Maboob Yasin, 22, Habib Yasin, 24, Samia Bi, 22, and youngsters aged one, three, eight and 11.

Police are trying to establish their reason for travelling to the Syrian border.

Officers have searched at least five homes in the Manchester area, including that of the Labour councillor.

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